The Charter for Compassion is an open and collaborative effort. In Fall 2008, people of all nations, all faiths, all backgrounds, submitted their own words for inclusion in the Charter.
The Charter for Compassion is a product of its time, for its time. Using a unique web-based decision making platform, thousands of people from over 100 countries added their voice to the writing of the Charter. In a six-week period, thousands of submissions were entered which were then read and commented upon by over 150,000 visitors. These contributions were then reviewed by the Council of Conscience and incorporated into the final document.
Secular, Nonreligious, Agnostic, Atheist
"For millennia people have struggled to understand the world and to find the principles for righteous action. Religious traditions have produced diverging views on both. But underlying every system of religion or belief we find our common humanity and our quest for meaning. Compassion arises from these sources and forms part – not always the dominant part – of every tradition."
Agnostic/Atheism, United Kingdom
"Seeing our students through our own eyes with sensitivity, attention and kindness reminds us that we all see things as we are and not necessarily as they are, and that makes us unique and human. However, our common experience of powerful (com)passionate feelings such as fear, pain, sadness, shame, and despair allows us to understand how these shared emotions make us impactful mentors, models and teachers in the lives of others, especially youth. Our ability to reach into our hearts and memory and walk gently and carefully around the tasks we have set for our students is intensely important because as teachers we are instrumental in infusing students with feelings of pride in their achievements or in wounding them inadvertently with feelings of failure. By attentively encouraging all sincere and often heroic efforts on all our parts we actively support the concept of compassion. We also can act compassionately by connecting to one another openly and respectfully, with the understanding that failure is an inevitable and necessary part of learning for us all. Perhaps pain is necessary, but we who act compassionately have the ability to make suffering optional."
Secular/Nonreligious, United States
"We must remember that as educators we must lead by example. The best way to teach any subject is to know and live that subject. If we are excited about learning, those who are learning will learn that enthusiasm. If we act with compassion we teach compassion. Live by the Golden Rule and teach it…"
Secular/Nonreligious, United States
"For the sake of the world teachers must understand that the Charter for Compassion is a global appeal for what is aspirational in all traditions and will not diminish an individual’s belief, but deepen and strengthen it. Teachers in every tradition must ask themselves whether their teaching promotes a divided world or a true community. Educating students about the compassionate doctrines of other traditions as well as their own will help them and their students discover the universal appeal that lies in the heart of their own religion. By examining their own and other traditions teachers can show their students how the golden rule is not simply a moral injunction but is a way of seeing the world that brings a new depth of understanding and joy."
"Religious leaders must enable their congregants to engage in a conversation about compassion in action. They must encourage congregants to assess the needs of their communities and to formulate ways of addressing those needs. They must raise awareness of our interconnectedness, our shared destinies, and our common human rights. Finally, religious leaders must communicate with each other and form spiritual alliances between the peoples of the world."
Agnostic/Atheism, United States